Americans might have Canada as a fallback plan if Donald Trump is elected as president. UK fintech companies are looking to Ireland with Brexit repercussions shaping up. A 2016 PwC briefing projects that Ireland will come out ahead on Brexit in terms of attracting talent, regulation, and data protection. However, until the Brexit fumes disperse, here are the top five things you need to know about fintech in Ireland.
Payments is Ireland’s biggest fintech sector
Ok, so maybe mobile payments haven’t lived up to all their hype. But payments continues to be one of the forefront fields of fintech innovations, drawing $500 million in investments in the second quarter of 2016. The promise of payments as a lucrative field hasn’t been lost on Ireland’s fintechs. According to Ginger Techie’s September 2016 map of Irish fintech companies, payments is winning the Ireland fintech company count with 30 startups, followed not so closely by funds and investing (13), accounting tech (11) and regtech (10).
Banking platforms are Ireland’s least popular fintech field
Ginger Techie only lists two Irish startups developing platforms specifically for banks - leveris and Sentenial. So, banking platforms are at the bottom of the Irish fintech food chain. To be fair to the field, though, Ireland only has 3 bitcoin startups to its name.
Personal P2P lending hasn’t even launched yet
Even though P2P lending was already a $3.5 billion market back in 2013, Ireland is just now in the process of launching its first personal P2P lending platform.
Bank of Ireland is trying to keep up with social media
Ireland has its own specific social media trends, with Facebook clearly leading the way in the percentage of social account owners in Ireland in Q2 2016. Bank of Ireland at least is trying to be a social media innovator. With the help of a Snapchat influencer and a model (no joke), the bank launched its FeelFree student reward program via Snapchat in August 2016. Bank of Ireland is pretty good about updating its YouTube channel -- we’re big fans of the singing sandwich ad for the bank’s MortgageSaver product.
Irish credit unions still dominate the retail banking market
Credit unions continue to be the major retail banking players in Ireland, claiming over 3 million people of the country's population of 4.6 million as members. This, in spite of a 2016 survey conducted by the Central Bank of Ireland, which found that only 12 percent of credit unions have more than 20 percent of members doing some business online. Still, that same survey found that most credit unions believe that by 2018, the ways in which these financial institutions use information and communication technology will have changed significantly. Meanwhile, credit unions in Ireland are preparing for the technology transitions up ahead by staying innovative. For instance, in October 2016, 16 Irish credit unions began offering fast-track loans through Facebook.